September 17th, 2009
05:48 PM ET
9 years ago

Grassley: 'I kinda resent' White House over health care reform

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley - one of the Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee's "Gang of Six" - told reporters Thursday it's been six weeks since he's spoken to President Obama or anyone on the White House staff.

"I'll tell ya, there's some things that the president has said since then, that I took very personally," Grassley said.

The Iowa senator said he took offense to comments made by the president last month in response to a controversy of a provision regarding end-of-life counseling in one of the health care reform bills in the House.

"You have every right to fear," Grassley told constituents at a town hall in mid-August, "You shouldn't have counseling at the end of life, you should have done that 20 years before. [We] Should not have a government run plan to decide when to pull the plug on grandma."

At a health care event of his own last month, the president responded to similar criticism.

"The notion that somehow I ran for public office or members of Congress are in this so that they can go around pulling the plug on grandma ... when you start making arguments like that, it's simply dishonest," Obama said.

The presidential comeback still doesn't sit well with Grassley. The senator said he resents accusations that he and other Republicans have been more concerned with scoring political points than achieving a consensus on policy in the debate over health care reform.

"I kinda resent – when I have been very candid with the President of the United States, face-to-face . . . And I leveled with him . . . And then we're accused by Axelrod of making political things and maybe not being serious in our negotiations," Grassley told reporters Thursday. "That's not a very good environment to carry on a conversation with the White House."

Grassley also suggested Thursday that it was "intellectually dishonest" to call the proposal unveiled by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, a bipartisan bill.

For several weeks, Baucus and Grassley have been working with two Republicans and two Democrats – known as the "Gang of Six" – in trying to strike a compromise that might win broad support in the Senate. Grassley and fellow Republican Sens. Mike Enzi and Olympia Snowe are not supporting the Baucus proposal that is set for mark-up in the Finance Committee. But the three Republicans have said they remain committed to crafting a bill that will garner bipartisan support.

–CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash contributed to this report.

Filed under: Charles Grassley • Health care • President Obama • Senate
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. Wont-vote-gop-if-my-life-depended-on-it

    You peddle your disgusting lies and then sulk when you're called a liar? Grow up Mr. Grassley! What did you expect? A thank you note from the President for your outstanding cooperation? Resent all you want... you have been exposed for the hack you are.

    September 17, 2009 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  2. eolufemi

    who cares...this guy has wasted our time and everybody elses. he has never had anything positive to say nor has he ever suggested he is willing to compromise in this effort.

    September 17, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  3. Jake

    and we kind of resent you for doing NOTHING for healthcare!

    September 17, 2009 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  4. Ron

    It's hard to understand why Grassley should be offended by Obama's statement, when Grassley is the one who made the outrageous comment about the government deciding when to "pull the plug on grandma." Before he pandered to the right-wing by making this statement, I actually had some respect for Grassley. I thought there might be a few honest and fairly moderate Republicans left before they cow-towed to the "base" by perpetrating this untruth. I used to vote about half Republican and half Democrat. Not any more. I'm not fond of the Democrats. But the Republicans have gone off the deep end.

    September 17, 2009 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  5. Angi's mom

    What a clown.

    September 17, 2009 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  6. TN

    waa waa will wind up being no reform at public option and more no bid contracts to the same people that ALWAYS profit off the backs of everybody else. I'm fed up with working, paying my bills and being denied medical care because of a preexisting condition. And I am NOT somebody looking for a 'handout' hearing that makes me want to vomit. Republicans are about GREED nothing more, and the choices they make have NOTHING to do with 'god'...they are going to face a sad realization on judgment day.

    September 17, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  7. joehnunya

    My oh my. The President picking on the poor senator. Hurt his little feelings. Then perhaps, the senator has learned not to shoot off his mouth. Doubt it though. The truly funny thing is, If the Democrats wanted to, they could repeal Christmas. GOP ? If they keep spitting on the hand that reaches across the isle, they deserve to be slapped by it. I know this to be true. They created the entire mess and THEY LOST. As they continue to speak, they become more and more lost. Welcome to the irrelavant. Enjoy your exile. You've earned it.

    September 17, 2009 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  8. Sam SixPack

    Obama wants to take money set aside for your grandmother's health care and give it to his fat, greedy friends.

    Obamacare: pulling the plug – one grandma at a time.

    September 17, 2009 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  9. Molly Weasley

    Took it personally, did you? Then maybe you shouldn't have lied at your town hall, agreeing with your constituent that health reform would be dangerous for seniors. Maybe you shouldn't have sent out a fund-raising letter saying you wouldn't back health reform when you were supposed to be working on a bill.

    The real reason you're acting like a jerk is that you think the Republicans are going to take away your committee seniority.

    Just admit it. No Republican is going to vote for any health reform bill, ever. We'll get it passed with reconciliation, and then you can get your marching orders from Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck about the next thing to be "outraged" about.

    September 17, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  10. annie s

    And its intellectually dishonest to tell even one American that they have a right to "fear" end of life counseling.

    September 17, 2009 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  11. Gus The Willie

    We should say within the last six weeks the Republicans have said a lot of hairbrain things we took personally. Perhaps Charles, you should dress like the Grim Reaper, and confront your senior citizens at your next town hall meetings. See how much of impact you will make without the usual Republican scare tactics.

    September 17, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  12. Patricia T.

    Well, I've been pretty disappointed in you here lately, Senator Grassley. You've made no attempt at all at bipartisanship. And you chimed right in with Sarah Palin about end-of-life issues - you told people they were right to be afraid and that we shouldn't have a government-run plan to pull the plug on Grandma. Speaking as a Grandma, I wondered why on earth you took that route. Why didn't you reassure your constituents, instead of playing on their fears? And you know there is no such thing as a government-run program to end Granny's life. Why didn't you just say that?

    September 17, 2009 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  13. Post always rejected by CNN

    I resent the Hades out of this did he ever get elected. They holler about Pelosi saying this screaming and hollering will lead to violence and it will the way beck and rush and Fox are inciting it. So she chocked up...she stand there with tears streaming down her face like the permanent dye job of bonher. or BONER.

    September 17, 2009 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  14. BJ in NC

    Dooes he really think what he has done is honest and above board? He lied and played both sides. Does he really think that people cannot see throrugh what he is doing? The whole thing about end of life counseling that has been going on since before 1992 is now being resold as a lie! I know because I worked in a hospital for 12 years and the counseling was and stil is called ADVANCED DIRECTIVES where the individual makes the choice about whether they want to be put on respirators and such. Man, can they at lease be honest about that!!!!!

    September 17, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  15. Lynne

    Where is a blog on the fact that Bill O'Rielly supports a public option for health care reform. Are the republicans going to throw him under the bus.

    As for Grassley, who has shifted positions with the rising of almost every day, wants us to feel sorry for him because he is actually doing his job?? The man is demonstrating the early signs of dementia!!

    September 17, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  16. indy voter

    Hey Grassley,

    Maybe, just maybe, the president has reason to RESENT some of the things that have come out of your won mouth the past six weeks...just a thought 🙂 🙂 🙂

    September 17, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  17. Annie, Atlanta

    Senator Grassley is a disgrace. He went back and spoke to his constituents in August and told them they "should be afraid" and "we should not have a government program that determines if you're going to pull the plug on grandma." (I actually wrote it down and have it sitting here at my computer, I was so shocked.) How can he even be considered rational? Like I said, he's a disgrace.

    September 17, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  18. Cindy

    Oh spare me the fake indignation, Senator Grassley. You scare your constituents by taking about the government pulling the plug on grandma, and you're resentful when the Administration calls you on it?

    Get off your high-nose horse and be truthful about wanting bipartisan support. Obviously, there is no bipartisan bill. That's cause you don't really want one. The dishonest one is you.

    September 17, 2009 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  19. welches, oregon

    OMG – still with the lies and deceptions I see.

    End of life counseling 20 years before you get sick?
    Are you kdding me?

    When will these 'conservatives' get it thru their empty heads they are the minority now.

    Who will support you Grassley?

    Oh, Just those far right wing nut jobs. So sad.

    September 17, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  20. tony

    So you took it personally that the president took your comment personally when you said that the president's health care plan might pull the plug on grandma? Especially since end-of-life counseling was not a new idea and President Bush signed a bill in 1992 requiring hospitals to provide the voluntary service to Medicare and Medicaid recipients? Especially since Palin herself endorsed the concept in 2008?

    September 17, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  21. SF Serg

    Puhhleeassssse. GOP demands that the President choose their agenda over the elected Democratic majority. Then they rip into him when he doesn't give in even though he's trying to reach a common ground. It is futile for the President and his administration to compromise with Republicans. An absolute waste of time and energy. The GOP wants it their way or nothing at all, no common ground whatsoever. I say the Democrats completely forget about the GOP and approach every issue with their agenda. Especially healthcare reform, it must have a public option. Forget about bipartisanship Mr. President, just get the issues right! OBAMA/BIDEN '12

    September 17, 2009 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  22. normajean

    I "kinda resent" Sen Grassley. His part in the "Gang of Six"was a joke. He had no intention of voting for a plan as anything but a Republican. His "partisan" is not" bi" and never has been.He proved his position when he chaired a Town Hall meeting ,where he took the attitude that people should fear the current administration. I wouldn't trust him any farther than I could throw a piano.

    September 17, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  23. jaye

    Republicans...they're either whining, or spreading hate and inciting riots.
    I simply tune them out.

    I want healthcare for all, but, if the Baucus Bill passes there will be lots and lots of House seats lost next year....that is the worst Bill I've ever read.
    The democrats better stop bowing down to the republicans and write a GOOD healthcare Bill that will pass without the republicans.
    Why not let President Obama write the Bill...he's the only one with enough intelligence to write a good healthcare reform Bill.

    September 17, 2009 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    If you can't take the heat, Grassley, get out of the kitchen.

    You insinuated that the proposed health care reform legislation would include "death panels," when you knew perfectly well that was not the case.

    You got called on it – along with blowhards like Sarah Palin. Grow up and deal with it!

    September 17, 2009 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  25. Robert

    C'mon, Grassley, man up, don't be such a weinie! If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Just because the President doesn't sing from your little hymn book doesn't mean he doesn't respect you as a... Senator???

    September 17, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
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